Mild tremors hit Winsted during East Coast quake
WINSTED — The Laurel City was part of the big national story Tuesday afternoon, when people throughout town said they felt the tremors resulting from a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that originated in Mineral, Va., about 90 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., at 1:51 p.m. EDT.The quake was the strongest to hit the East Coast in 67 years and almost as strong as the most powerful quake in Virginia’s recorded history — a 5.9 quake that occurred in May 1897 in Giles County, Va.The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported the quake caused moderate shaking and potentially significant damage throughout northern Virginia and that people in faraway locations experienced tremors because the earthquake was shallow — about 3.7 miles deep. The bedrock on the East Coast is older and harder than rock on the West Coast, resulting in more widespread tremors.For many in Winsted, the quake was enough to cause a stir. Dozens of Facebook friends of The Winsted Journal said they felt significant shaking and witnessed movement. “We have kids up here at Gilbert enjoying band camp,” posted Terry Cowgill, the school’s director of development. “I don’t think they noticed it since they were playing their instruments at the time. But my monitor, bookshelves and the walls of my office shook and made noises. Spooky stuff.”Walnut Street resident Chip Johnson said his dogs all started barking at once, and Claire Vreeland reported tables moving and “pictures and mirrors dancing on the walls” at the Tributary Restaurant on Rowley Street. Online friends from all along the East Coast reported various levels of activity, most notably in Virginia. Shaking was reported throughout the Mid-Atlantic as far north as Toronto, Ontario, and south through South Carolina.News reports stated that two nuclear reactors were taken offline at the North Anna nuclear power plant operated by Dominion Resources just a few miles from the epicenter of Tuesday’s quake.Later in the day, there were reports of minor damage to the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral, both in Washington, D.C. White House spokesmen said the quake briefly interrupted President Barack Obama during a golf game on Martha’s Vineyard, where he is vacationing this week. Also in Washingotn, the Pentagon was reportedly evacuated as a precaution. Control towers at JFK International Airport in New York City were evacuated and flights across the New York City metro area were briefly halted.In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced at 2:24 p.m. that the state’s emergency operations center had been opened as a precaution and that there had been no reports of injury or damage. The center was closed later in the day without incident.